Thursday, July 16, 2009

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

(Image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, from Women for Faith & Family)

(The following is the legend of the breviary for Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as quoted in Dom Prosper Guéranger's entry in The Liturgical Year for 16 July, in Volume XIII of the 1983 Marian House edition of the English translation by the Benedictines of Stanbrook.]

Earlier in the entry, he related how during "the night between the 15th and 16th of July of the year 1251, the gracious Queen of Carmel...conferred upon them [the Carmelites] with her queenly hands the [Brown] scapular, hitherto the distinctive garb of the greatest and most ancient religious family of the West. On giving St. Simon Stock this badge, ennobled by contact with her sacred fingers, the Mother of God said to him: 'Whosoever shall die in this habit shall not suffer eternal flames.'")

"When on the holy day of Pentecost the apostles, through heavenly inspiration, spoke divers[e] tongues and worked many miracles by the invocation of the most holy name of Jesus, it is said that many men who were walking in the footsteps of the holy prophets Elias and Eliseus [Elijah and Elisha], and had been prepared for the coming of Christ by the preaching of [Saint] John the Baptist, saw and acknowledged the truth, and at once embraced the faith of the Gospel. These new Christians were so happy as to be able to enjoy the familiar...[company and conversation] with the Blessed Virgin, and venerated her with so special an affection, that they, before all others, built a chapel to the purest of Virgins on that very spot of Mount Carmel where Elias of old had seen the cloud, a remarkable type of the Virgin ascending [3 Kings (1 Kings) 18: 42-44]."

"Many times each day they came together to the new oratory, and with pious ceremonies, prayers, and praises, honoured the most Blessed Virgin as the special protectress of their Order [the Carmelites]. For this reason, people from all parts began to call them the Brethren of the Blessed Mary of Mount Carmel; and the Sovereign Pontiffs not only confirmed this title, but also granted special indulgences to whoever called either the whole Order or individual Brothers by that name. But the most noble Virgin not only gave them her name and protection, she also bestowed upon blessed Simon the Englishman [Saint Simon Stock] the holy scapular [the Brown Scapular] as a token, wishing the holy Order to be distinguished by that heavenly garment and to be protected by it from the evils that were assailing it. Moreover, as formerly the Order was unknown in Europe, and on this account many were importuning [Pope] Honorius III for its abolition, the loving Virgin Mary appeared by night to Honorius and clearly bade him receive both the Order and its members with kindness."

"The Blessed Virgin has enriched the Order so dear to her with many privileges, not only in this world, but also in the next (for everywhere she is most powerful and merciful). For it is piously believed that those of her children who, having been enrolled in the Confraternity of the [Brown] Scapular, have fulfilled the small abstinence and said the few prayers prescribed, and have observed chastity as far as their state of life demands, will be consoled by our Lady while they are being purified in the fire of purgatory, and will through her intercession be taken thence as soon as possible to the heavenly country. The Order, thus laden with so many graces, has ordained that this solemn commemoration of the Blessed Virgin should be yearly observed for ever, to her greater glory."

(Dom Guéranger also related earlier that it was Pope Benedict XIII in the 18th century that extended the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to the Universal Church.)


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